by Joyce

Well now its not so good as it used to be. Mum's 85 and somewhat demented by the torture of everyday life. I wish to alleviate the grinding chores of mere existence into which she sinks at her peril, she hates to waste my time on such boring things as hygiene or nutrition. I write simply, letters containing no more than two ideas because phone conversations become fraught. She doesn't reply to these but enjoys messenger situations and our outings to new places and shops where she can make acquaintances. Dad's grave is a place where I sometimes put 2+2 together ; we give Mum red roses because he did.Its hard to touch her gently enough, she's full of pain; hard not to wrinkle my nose or look aghast at the mess; easy to lose my patience in the tedious details so important to her; hell being exasperated when thwarted in trying to lift her out of her mental quagmires.

Sometimes I resort to symbols like the Rosary.Fancy birthday cards,new pink electric shavers,comfy clothing off my own back...I do actually tell her I love her even though we argue horribly, I do try to arrange to visit at her convenience and leave her alone to her own devices. At times I am very, very blunt because we have to progress... towards a parting.Now sometimes there are moments of revelation that she's been thinking of what to say to me, what comes next, where she amongst all the interminable reworked shared memories are some serious traumatic gaps we cannot fill but sometimes have to contemplate or tackle.Not much room for laughter, but just sometimes we take a bit of a look at ourselves and try not to be too cranky.

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Well said...
by: Anonymous

Your comment is so deep and profound as though you've learned to step back and see the situation from the outside. So many of us are so caught up inside the whirlwind of the day-to-day that we don't give ourselves a chance to see exactly what is going on.

Our parents are at the last months or years of their life. We, at our age, assume that we have more years, and that very assumption makes us cavalier toward our days. But their time is finite, and they know it, and it must color their perspective.

What kinds of new meaning does that impart to them? Can we, for a day, live as though we know we might have only a year or two to live? If we did, what would be important to us? How would we want to spend that time? Somewhere in our aging parents addled-minds, they may have that thought.

You seem to be in a very good place with your mom. She is caught up in her world, but you are not caught up in it with her. You seem wistful but wise, like you have figured some things out, are ready to go to the end with your mom and then be able to freely let her go.

I'm going to try to keep that outside-the-box perspective as I journey together with my mom down this road. I'm sure I have a lot more to learn.

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